Meet Jen Kamel

DSC_0111 headI’m Jen Kamel. My story begins in 2004 after I had my cesarean for single footling breech presentation.

I had planned a hospital birth with a midwife and was disappointed and surprised to find myself in the operating room after many months of envisioning a normal labor and delivery. I had a very painful recovery and knew I didn’t want to just schedule a cesarean for my next baby.

When I mentioned this to my OB/GYN, he was very supportive, and assured me that I was an excellent VBAC candidate since I had my cesarean for breech. But when I went out into the world, many friends and family members could not believe that I would consider a VBAC.

Wasn’t it really risky? So risky that hospitals banned them? Why take that risk just for the experience of a vaginal birth? Didn’t I want a healthy baby?

With my professional history as a commercial real estate research manager performing demographic and geographic analysis for international, national, and local companies, I was accustomed to gathering information, analyzing it, and presenting my findings in everyday terms.

So, my journey began. I directed my skill-set to post-cesarean birth options and got to work.

It quickly became clear how difficult it was for consumers to find high-quality and reliable information on vaginal birth after cesarean and elective repeat cesarean section. And once I found it, I didn’t understand why VBAC was so hard to access even though the evidence supported it.

I noted the opposition that VBAC supportive practitioners and professionals faced from colleagues, hospital administrators, and malpractice insurance companies. I discovered that sometimes financial and legal factors, that have nothing to do with the health and safety of mothers and children, determined hospital policy and provider preference.

In short, I witnessed the huge disconnect between what the evidence on post-cesarean birth options concluded and what people believed. Upon my VBAC in 2007, I looked at the information I had acquired in light of all the misinformation and confusion that dominated many exchanges on the internet. I wanted to provide clarity to those caring for pregnant people, and parents themselves, on the bigger picture: non-medical factors impact medical decision making and even inhibit the options presented to parents. VBAC Facts® was born.

Since then, I have developed a 6-hour program approved for nursing contact hours, “The Truth About VBAC: History, Politics, & Stats.” After traveling throughout the United States presenting this program to professionals, providers, and highly motivated parents, I produced it so people around the world could attend online!

I have been invited to speak at various regional and national conferences, including Human Rights in Childbirth, DONA International, and the Indiana Midwives Association, as well as webinars sponsored by organizations like Lamaze and ICAN International.

37 thoughts on “Meet Jen Kamel

  1. Dr. Vijaya Krishnan

    Dear Jen,

    An update from the last time I communicated with you we started our Natural Birthing Center in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad. I am happy to say that our natural birth rates are close to 85%, including an increasing number of VBACs.

    We have linked your site to ours and would look forward to your linking our site to yours so that we can provide mothers and their families with the information and support that they need for a VBAC.

    Dr. Vijaya

    Reply
    1. Khan

      My wife is pregnant now. And this is 3rd pregnancy.
      1st delivery was viginal birth 02/2009
      2nd was caesarian 05/2012
      I would like to know how many chances are there for a normal(viginal) delivery.
      Kindly reply me with above information along with hospital address and approximate expenditure.
      Thank you.
      91-9246825008

      Reply
      1. Jen Kamel Post author

        Hi Khan,

        Women who have prior vaginal deliveries are considered very good candidates for VBAC as long as there is nothing else that risks them out for a vaginal delivery. What area of India are you in? I can post on my Facebook page and see if any of my readers know of VBAC supportive providers in your area.

        Best,

        Jen

        Reply
  2. missy

    Hi Jen!
    I was just checking out your sight, I wanted to make sure this was the right one. I think one of my friend from high school is a midwife…I was going to suggest your sight to her. Impressive amounts of info Jen! WOW!!! Good job, my friend! You should write a book! Miss you! The “E” sisters say hello from Texas to your kids.

    Reply
    1. Jen Kamel Post author

      Thanks Missy! It has been a lot of work, but a lot of fun as well tucked between unloading the dishwasher and afternoons at the park! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Kim

    806. Jen from vbacfacts.com said:
    I too once thought that homebirth was for grade A whackjobs…
    then I had a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) at home. Recovery was a breeze. Pain from childbirth was nothing like recovering from a cesarean. It was totally manageable. To be drug-free and fully aware and present when my baby was born was priceless. To have him drug-free and fully aware was amazing. To eat and drink immediately after labor … was so satisfying after all that hard work!
    My birth story: http://vbacfacts.com/hbacbirth
    Can’t wait to read part 2!
    Jen
    Per your comment on Dooce’s blog…aren’t you lucky. My niece attempted an HBAC and had a uterine rupture and a dead baby, that’s way harder to recover from than a c-section. Do you love your c-section child less than your HBAC? I think you might from the sounds of things! That too is sad.

    Reply
    1. Jennifer Post author

      Kim,

      It must hurt so much to be a grieving aunt… almost a double loss as you mourn for your niece and also for the baby who died. Just as there is no way to predict who will experience a uterine rupture there is no way to predict who will suffer the consequences of major abdominal surgery.

      Plenty of evidence in documents such as this one indicates that a cesarean is correlated with greater risk of maternal death and infection and increases the possibility of respiratory problems in the newborn. I wish there was a fool proof way to guarantee every woman a safe passage to motherhood and there were no babies to mourn.

      Our love for our babies isn’t dependent on how they are born but the opportunities to hold them, reassure them, and breastfeed them is immeasurably increased when they aren’t separated from us while we are in recovery rooms or adhering to hospital protocols. Forums such as the online community at ICAN are filled with women who have been hurt by their unnecesareans. They do have babies in their arms but are wounded nevertheless. I wish your niece and her family a steady recovery and hope you will be part of her healing process.

      Warmly,

      Jen

      Reply

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